The Forward Five – Tuesday, 12/15/20

Five Things to Know Today

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— Publisher’s Note —

Good morning! After yesterday’s no-surprises, no-faithless-electors Electoral College vote, there is only one more step in the (standard and normal) process of the presidential election. That is on January 6th, when Congress meets to formally accept the votes from the electors in each state. VP Mike Pence presides over a joint session, tallies the votes, and declares the winner.

It is normally so low on drama that it isn’t even covered by news outlets. But this year, like everything else, it has some potential to be at least dramatic, if not traumatic.

To talk about all of this, we’ve got Teri Kanefield back on The State of Kentucky this Friday to walk us through what is supposed to happen, and what could happen, on January 6th. She is a lawyer, author, and legal analyst who writes a blog on “Law, Books, and Politics.” I have found her commentary to be some of the most well-reasoned and insightful out there, and she has repeatedly walked us through the process and what to worry (and not worry) about. We will also talk with her about why many Republicans have attacked our democracy, and what that means for the country going forward.

So, I hope you will add the show to your calendar for Friday and tune in to the live stream, so you can ask your own questions of her. It’s our last show of 2020, and it could be one of the most important. The links for Facebook and YouTube are in the blurb below. Join us for an interesting and enlightening conversation.


PS – Our membership drive ends tomorrow. We’re just 5 new members short of our goal. Will you help us get there? If you value what we do and want to see it keep going and even expand, become a member today and add your support to the mix. Just go to to sign up.

Bruce Maples, publisher
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Today’s Five Things to Know

Electoral College formally declares Biden the winner

In a day-long process, electors met in each state at their appointed times and cast their votes in the 2020 presidential election. In the end, the vote was exactly what the popular vote showed: Joe Biden won the presidency with 306 electoral votes, well over the 270 needed to win.

California put Biden over the top at about 5 PM Eastern time, with Hawaii adding the last votes to the total. There were no “faithless electors” in any state casting votes that didn’t match their state’s totals.

President-Elect Biden addressed the nation shortly after the results were final, saying it is time to “turn the page” on the election and begin rebuilding and healing the nation. However, many Trump supporters are still holding out hope that Trump can still be made president come January, either through the Congressional approval of Electoral College votes on January 6th (see the TSOK show below) or through some other means.

One side story that was both comical and scary happened in Michigan, where the capitol was locked down due to “credible threats of violence.” Only the electors and people needed to carry out the electoral vote were allowed in the building, which was guarded by Michigan state police. After the official electors were admitted, a different group of people showed up saying they were “alternate electors” there to vote for Trump, and asking to be allowed into the building. The state police turned them away, saying that the official electors were already inside.

12/14 update — Good news: First vaccines given in Ky.; plan to re-open schools announced; cases drop last week

Calling it a “heck of a week,” Gov. Beshear hailed the first coronavirus vaccinations, announced plans to resume in-person schooling, and said last week’s lower case numbers showed his aggressive measures work. (Forward Kentucky)

Attorney General Bill Barr resigns

Attorney General William Barr on Monday said he would resign next week, ending a tenure in which the President Donald Trump loyalist carried the administration’s “law and order” message but ultimately dealt the most credible blow to Trump’s unfounded claims that the 2020 election was littered with fraud.

His departure was announced by the President on Twitter moments after counting in the Electoral College put President-elect Joe Biden over the 270 votes needed to formally secure the presidency. (CNN)

COVID-19 relief package: No stimulus checks but it offers a $300 bonus to unemployment benefits

A bipartisan group of lawmakers unveiled a $908 billion coronavirus rescue package Monday, with a potential deal coming down to the wire since Congress has until the end of the week to strike an agreement that can be tied to longer-term spending legislation.

Economists have stressed the need for additional aid as 12 million Americans could lose their unemployment benefits the day after Christmas. Eviction moratoriums for renters and protections for student borrowers are also set to expire, as well as a federal program for paid family leave.

The package is split into two bills. The larger, $748 billion bill, called the Bipartisan Emergency COVID Relief Act of 2020, includes enhanced unemployment benefits. It would also temporarily extend an eviction moratorium and federal student loan forbearance, according to a summary of the proposal, which was obtained by USA TODAY.

The bill, however, lacked specific details on key issues that have held up a monthslong standoff in Washington, including Democrats demands for state and local government aid, along with liability protections for businesses sought by Republicans.

Congress can opt to vote for those issues in a separate, $160 billion bill, or the Bipartisan State and Local Support and Small Business Protection Act of 2020, which is expected to deliver state and local aid and provide liability insurance for businesses. (USA Today)

Louisville and Lexington push back against proposed rate increase from LG&E and KU

The two largest cities in the Bluegrass State are challenging a proposed rate increase from Kentucky Utilities and Louisville Gas & Electric.

Louisville and Lexington’s city governments filed a joint injunction Monday with the Kentucky Public Service Commission that seeks to prevent the rising rates amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“This request comes at a time when so many families in our city — and cities across the state — are dealing with the negative financial impact of COVID-19,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said in a statement. “It’s important that Louisville and Lexington have a seat at the table in this discussion, so we can better understand the utility’s needs while also advocating for our municipal interests and our residents — especially those with low or fixed incomes.” (Courier-Journal)

This Friday on “The State of Kentucky

The Electoral College has voted, and it’s over, right? Then what’s up with Congress counting votes on January 6? Could Trump still steal it then? Join us as we talk with lawyer and analyst Teri Kanefield about that date, as well as why Republicans are still supporting Trump.
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Recent Content on Forward Kentucky
[new] indicates item not in a Forward Five before
🔥indicates high # of reads, social media shares, or both

[new] Work on successful lawsuit against changes in Medicaid earns Rich Seckel a Kentucky Healthy Policy Champion award – The point man in a lawsuit that blocked changes to Kentucky’s Medicaid program has been honored for his work by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. (News)

[new}🔥  Fact Check: Fox News host Laura Ingraham falsely claims restrictions on eating out are not supported by science – TV host Laura Ingraham wrongly claimed restrictions on eating out are not supported by science. The claim is inaccurate. There is evidence that restaurants and bars are among the most common places for the virus spread. (Fact Check)

[new] Should Louisville Metro keep secret the applicants for LMPD chief? – Two important questions: CAN Louisville Metro withhold the list of applicants currently being considered for the position of LMPD’s new chief? Even more important – SHOULD it? (News Analysis)

[new] Adams presides over Kentucky’s 2020 Electoral College vote – At noon today, Secretary of State Michael Adams presided over the meeting of Kentucky’s Presidential Electors, whose eight votes went to Donald Trump for President and Michael Pence for Vice President. (News)

Wonders never cease – no KY Repubs involved in ridiculous-but-dangerous Texas lawsuit – Texas filed a lawsuit designed to install Trump as president. The attorneys general and representatives from other Republican states joined in. But our KY Repubs? They passed. (Commentary)

SCOTUS tosses ridiculous-but-dangerous Texas lawsuit – The Supreme Court shut down the Texas lawsuit that asked them to throw out election results, refusing to even hear the case, and saying Texas did not have standing to sue. (News)

‘Beginning of the end’: Kentucky receives first vaccine shipment – Sunday saw a major milestone in the fight against COVID-19, as the first shipment of vaccine arrived in Kentucky at the UPS Worldport. (News)

The Donald Trump concession speech – From the Twitter account of Jimmy Fallon and the Tonight Show, here’s the concession speech we all deserve! Enjoy! (Satire, Video)

🔥 Call it what is it – an attempted coup – The U.S. president is trying to steal the election, and, crucially, his party either tacitly approves or is pretending not to see it. This is a particularly dangerous combination, and makes it much more than just typical Trumpian bluster or norm shattering. (Analysis)

🔥 McConnell torpedoes emerging bipartisan deal for pandemic relief, leaving Congress where it’s been for months: stuck – A bipartisan $900 billion COVID-19 aid package all but collapsed Thursday after McConnell said Republican senators won’t support aid to state and local governments. (News)

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Forward Kentucky is an independent media organization focused on progressive news and issues in Kentucky. Our objectives are to provide journalism that is objective, policies that are effective, and commentary that is progressive. Our goal is to help Kentucky become all that it can be through government that works, for all. We are "the progressive voice for Kentucky politics."

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